Fr. Alex Osei shows one of the chalices bound for a mission. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Chalice sponsorship program bring new joy to the Church in developing countries

By 
  • October 9, 2018

On the day of a priest’s ordination, he receives from his bishop the most important tool of his ministry: the chalice. 

This golden (or silver) cup and its accompanying plate called the paten are the sacred vessels in which the priest will bring Jesus to his community. And yet, in many parts of the world these tools are hard to come by. 

“You cannot celebrate any Mass without a chalice,” said Fr. Matthias Amuzu. “In order to hold the Body and Blood of Christ, it is central to the celebration.”

Amuzu is the Canadian secretary of the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, which is part of the Pontifical Mission Societies that supports seminaries and priestly vocations in mission dioceses throughout the world. He receives dozens of e-mails and letters from bishops in developing regions, like Africa and Asia, who have nothing to give to their priests. 

In preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October 2019, Amuzu and English national director Fr. Alex Osei hope to bring the chalice sponsorship program to the Canadian Church. 

“We are not a well-known organization in Canada,” said Osei. “But (the Extraordinary Mission Month) gives us an opportunity to tell more people about the mission dioceses and the priests that we want to support.”

A donation of $425 purchases a gold chalice and paten with an enamel logo of the Mission Societies. Donors could also have their names or their loved ones’ names engraved so that the priest that receives the chalice is able to pray for them every time he celebrates Mass. 

Church law requires the vessels in which the Body and Blood of Christ are consecrated to be gold or silver. 

In mission dioceses where budgets are already very limited, bishops cannot send out priests to ministry without these fundamental tools. 

chalice mission 02Fr. Alex Osei, right, and Bishop Gabriel Edoe Kumordji stand outside the bishop’s office under construction in the Donkorkrom diocese in Ghana. Funds are provided by the Pontifical Mission Society. (Photo courtesy of Fr. Alex Osei)

“The joy in their faces when they receive it ... they can’t contain it,” said Amuzu. “In certain cultures, they even kneel down to thank you.”

Amuzu likes to deliver these chalices in person. Packaged deliveries often get lost in transit as the precious metals attract thieves. Instead, he often delivers the chalices, plus some donated vestments, ciboriums and other Mass essentials, during the annual Pontifical Mission Societies meeting in May. 

The national directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies are then able to deliver the materials in time for ordination season in June to August. 

“When I come to some places and the chalice they put on the altar when they ask me to celebrate Mass is from 1836 and it’s very old and I feel bad,” said Amuzu. “And so, I come back home and I find a way to send them a good one.”

Last year, Amuzu delivered 22 chalices and 18 have already been sent out this year. He said there is also a growing demand for vestments and other church supplies, so he has begun contacting diocesan archives offices to see if they have some in storage.

For those who wish to participate in the chalice program, Amuzu invited people to visit missionsocieties.ca

“I can’t say thank you to the donors enough and express the gratitude that these priests feel when they receive the chalice,” he said. “Through them, through their generosity, their kindness, they have brought Christ to the people of God through the celebration of the Eucharist.”

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location